Tutorial on X-ray photon counting detector characterization

Liqiang Ren, Bin Zheng, Hong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Recent advances in photon counting detection technology have led to significant research interest in X-ray imaging. OBJECTIVE: As a tutorial level review, this paper covers a wide range of aspects related to X-ray photon counting detector characterization. METHODS: The tutorial begins with a detailed description of the working principle and operating modes of a pixelated X-ray photon counting detector with basic architecture and detection mechanism. Currently available methods and techniques for charactering major aspects including energy response, noise floor, energy resolution, count rate performance (detector efficiency), and charge sharing effect of photon counting detectors are comprehensively reviewed. Other characterization aspects such as point spread function (PSF), line spread function (LSF), contrast transfer function (CTF), modulation transfer function (MTF), noise power spectrum (NPS), detective quantum efficiency (DQE), bias voltage, radiation damage, and polarization effect are also remarked. RESULTS: A cadmium telluride (CdTe) pixelated photon counting detector is employed for part of the characterization demonstration and the results are presented. CONCLUSIONS: This review can serve as a tutorial for X-ray imaging researchers and investigators to understand, operate, characterize, and optimize photon counting detectors for a variety of applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of X-Ray Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Charge sharing effect
  • Count rate performance
  • Detector characterization
  • Energy resolution
  • Energy response calibration
  • Noise floor
  • Photon counting detector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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